A Brief Study of Canterbury Tales Characters


     Knight was a worthy man. He loved chivalry, Truth, Honor, Freedom and Courtesy. He is famous in his Lord‟s war. More than any one in Christendom and in Heathen.      Countries he took part in battles. He was honored for his worthiness. He was at Alexandria (Alisaundre), when he was captured. In Feasts, he was at the head of the table above the men of all nations in Prenssia (Pruce) He fought in Lithurania (Lettow) and Russia (Rouce). No Christian had done so. He was at the siege of Algezil in Granada (Gernade) He went on expedition to Benamarin, (Belmarye) Africa. He was also at Lyas (Lyeys), Amenia He was also at Attalia (Satalye) He went on many navy expedition in Mediterranean sea (Great sea) He fought 15 battles for Christianity at Tramyssne, Africa especially times at Tramyssne. He always killed his enemies. He once he was with the lord of Pallatia (Palatye) Turkey, against the Heathens in Turkey.He was as modest as a Maiden. He was not guilty of Hard talk with anyone. He was a very perfect, gentle knight. His dress – He was not splendidly dressed. He had a fine horse. He wore Fustian (Like Military (or) Rough cloth), stained and Dark with Smudges (He wears armour on his dress – so became damaged) due to his armour. He has just come from service.


    Young squire was the son of Knight. He was a lover and a lusty bachelor with Curley locks. According to Chaucer‟s guess, he was 20 years old. He had moderate height and he had agility (Interest) and great strength he was in the carelry (Horsegil) and he had been to Flanders, Artois and Picardy. He hoped to win his Lady‟s favour. his Dress His garment is embroidered. It looked like a Meadow full of fresh flowers, white and Red. He was singing (or) Fluting all day. He was as fresh as is the month of May. His gown was short with long sleeves. He could sit and ride on the horse gracefully. He composed songs and recite them. He fought in a tournament. He danced, painted and wrote very well. He loved his lady so sincerely that he did not sleep like a Nightingale. He was courteous, humble and serviceable. He served his father at the table. 


      The knight had a servant, Yeoman. He wore a Green coat and Hoodin a cone shape (Hat), He carried under his belt a sheef of keen Peacock‟s arrows. His arrows did not fly slantingly. In his hand, he carried a mighty Bow. His head was closely shared (Tonsure Head). His face was brown. He knew the art of woodcraft. Upon his arms, he had a shield and sword. On his otherwise of the shoulder, there was a fine Dagger with a decorated Hilt. It was sharp like the point of a sphere on his breast there was a bright silver medal with the figure of St. Christopher. He was the patron saint of Field sports (Hunting) and was a guardian of foresters. He carried a hunting horn and his belt was green. Chaucer guesses that he was a true forester. 

Nun Prioress 

      Her smile was very simple and shy. Her greatest Oath was by saint Loy‟ Loy was a French Bishop. Saint Eligius refused to swear before king Dogbert and he shed tears. The name of prioress was Madam Eglantine. She sings divine song sweetly with a fine Nasal intonation. She spoke French neatly, in the manner of Strafford –at Bowe, because she did not know pairs, French. She was well trained in Table manners. She allowed no food morsel to fall from her lips. She did not dip her fingers too deep in the sauce. She carried a morsel well. So that even a drop did not fall upon her breast. She was happy in a curtsey. She wiped her upper lip so cleanly that not a trace of Grease was seen on her napkin when she finished her drink. She ate her meat gracefully. She is as pleasant in her behaviour. She took pains to imitate grace. She was compassionate and she would weep if she saw even a mouse caught in a trap, thinking it to be dead (or) bleeding. She had a few small dogs and she fed (feed) with Roasted flesh, milk or white bread. She wept (weep) if one of them (dogs) is dead or beaten by others with the stick. She was „Indeed conscience and Tender heart‟. Her head dress was neatly tied (pleated). Her nose was slender and sharp. Her eyes were grey as glass. Her mouth was very small but soft and red. Her forehead was tail forehead – as broad as spam. She was not under grown. Her dress was elegant. She wore a bracelet with a set of beads in Green. On the Bracelet is hung a Golden Brooch of brightest shining, on ….. there was a crowned „A‟ and the Latin phrase, Amor Vincit Omnia (Love conquers all). She had another Nun. She was her chaplain (Secretary /PA) She had 3 priests (6, 7, 8) Prioress with one nun and 3 priests (Total – 5) 


     He was a leader in passions. His Passions …. hunting and inspecting Farms. He was a manly man (or) the head of the monastery. He had many good horses in his stable, when he rode (ride), his bridle Jingled in the wind as loud as the chapel bell. He ignored the old and strict rule of St.Maurus or St. Benedict because he considered that old. Both saints are in France. He considered the old practice as useless. He followed the modern way. He did not value the text even at the value of a plucked Hen, because the text says that hunters are not holy men and that the Monk outside his cloister is like a fish out of water. So, he did not value the text. Chaucer said that he agreed with his opinion. Chaucer says that a monk should need not study books or work as instructed by St. Augustine. (Austyn). The monk had greyhounds as swift as birds. His pleasure was in riding and hunting of the Hare. His sleeves were decorated with fine greyful (soft cloth). To tie his hood (half under his chin, he had a golden pin with the lover's knot. His head was bald and shone (shine) like a glass. His face was bright as anointed (oil face). He was for priest. His eyes rolled and they were as bright as the fire of lead Furnace. His boots were of soft leather. His horse was fine. He was not pale like a tormented soul. He liked roasted whole swan. His horse was as brown as a Berry. 


     The Friar was a wanton and happy fellow. He was a limited and important man. He knew much flattery, the 4 orders 1. Franciscans 2. Dominicans 3. Carmelites 4. Augustinians He conducted the marriages of many young women at his own cost. He was a noble pillar in his order. He was loved by Franklins and women. He was qualified to hear confessions. He ……. special license from Pope. He was an easy man in giving Penance. He lived decently, because of the sinners five bribes. He is hard-hearted. So, he cannot weep, though he felt pain. Instead of weeping and praying, people should give silver to the Friar. His hand bag was stuffed with knives and pins to be given to good women. He had a merry voice. He could sing and play on a harp. He got praises in songs and Tales. His neck was as white as a Lilly. He was strong as a champaign. he was familiar with every Tavern, innkeeper and Barmaid, better than a lepper (or) a beggar women. He had a company with sick lepers. It was not respectable. He was humble in service. He was the best beggar in his monastery. Though a widow had no coin, he would get something from her. So, his income was more than his regular wages (coolie). He behaved like a puppy. He could help in the days of dispute (problem). He acted like Pope. His dress was double worsted. He lisped artificially to make his English sweet. In his harping, his eyes twinkled right in his head as a star on a Frosty night. He was called Hubert. 


     The Merchant had forked beard. In multicoloured dress, „Yellow‟ he sat high on a horse. He had a Flemish Bearer hat. His boots were fairly bucked. he spoke loudly of profit. He wished that the sea between middle Burgh and Orwell must be protected from the sea pirates. he dealt with French crowns for profit. No one knew that he was in great debt. He was dignified in his management in Bargain. In truth, Chaucer did not know his name. 

Clerk of Oxford 

     Clerk of Oxford was devoted to logic. His horse clerk of oxford as lean as a Rake. The clerk was not fat and he had a hollow look and serious. His overcoat was worn out. He preferred to have 20 books of Aristotle and his philosophy. They were bound in black and Red. Though he was a philosopher, he had little gold in his money box. He got money from his friends on books and on learning. He sincerely prayed for the souls of his helpers. He was careful in his studies. He never spoke was short and full of the deep morning. There was morality in his speech and gladly would he learn and Gladly Teach. 

Sergeant At Law 

     He was wise. He had been at Parvys – a room in St. Pauls church, meant for Lawyers. He was richly gifted in his wife sayings. He had been a judge in the court sessions. Because of great knowledge and high name, he earned great fees and robes (dress). He was a busy man. He could deal in all cases. He knew all the cases since the time king William, the conquerer. He knew how to make up a case without fault in the draft. He knew every law by heart. He had party coloured coat in silk with small stripes. 

Franklin – It means Landowner 

       His beard was as white as a Daisy. He was red in complexion. For the breakfast was a cake dipped in wine. He was like Epicurus‟s own son. To him, the sensuous pleasure was perfect bliss. He was a great householder. He was like St. Julian. Julian was the Patron saint of Hospitality. His bread and ale were always good. In his house, there was better wine and baked meat. he had a great stock of fish and flesh. According to the various seasons, he altered his food and supper. He had many partridges (Birds). There was much fish (Bream and Luce). His cook must prepare sauce pungent and sharp. His cook must keep the Utensils ready all day. In the law court, he was a lord and acted as a judge. He was a knight of the shire. His knife and silk purse hung at his girdle (Hip), ….. was white as morning milk. He was a sheriff and an accountant. He was nowhere such a worthy vavasour. 

Guild Men 

Chaucer portrayed gallery contains 5 guild men. 
1. Haberdasher - Tailor 
2. Carpenter 
3. Weaves 
4. Dyer 
5. Upholsterer - Sofa maker and leather worker and furniture maker 

     They are dressed in one impressive livery (uniform). Their dresses are fashioned, fresh and new. Their knives are made not with brass, but with silver. Their pouches are neat. everyone is fit to be an alderman (council member in the municipality). They have good revenue. Their wives declare that they deserve and good to be called „Madam‟. On the eve of a festival, they go in order of priority. They (wives) have a majestic mantle. 


    These guildsmen have brought a cook with them. Cook boils the chickens with marrow bones and spice and roots of sweet Cyprus. He (cook) knows the London ale by flavour. He could roast, Boil and Fry. He makes a good thick soup. It is a great pity that he … an Ulcer – on his chin. He makes the compound of cake (capon) with cream, sugar and flour. 


    The shipman comes from far west and he is from Dartmouth. He rides on a primer‟s horse. He wears a Gown of Coarse stuff, hanging down to the knee. He … a dagger hanging from his neck, under his arm. The hot summer …. made his colour brown. He is a good fellow. From Bordeaux, he ………. drawn wine repeatedly. He drank wine from the cask, while the merchant slept. He is not bothered about a conscience. If he fought won, he drowned all the prisoners. He ……. the skill in calculating tides, currents, approaching danger, the harbour and the position of the moon. There was no one to equal him from Hull to Carthage. His beard was Shaken by many tempests. He knew all the sea ports from Gottland to the cape of Finistere. He knew every rock (or) creek in Britain and Spain. His ship is called the Maudelayne. 

Doctor of Medicine 

    The Doctor of Medicine ….. no equal in the world in Medicine and Surgery because he is specialized in astronomy. He studies the patients well for the hours. By his natural magic, he prescribes medicine according to the ascending stars. He knows the cause of every sickness when it originates from the humour (Mood). He is a good doctor. All his apothecaries (chemist) are ready with drugs. They make money from the Guile (cheating). He knows the old physicians. 

1. Aesculapius - Greek God of Medicine 
2. Dioscorides, Rufus, Hippocrates, Hali, Galen, Serapion (Egyptian), Razis, Aricenna, Averrois Damascene, Constantine, Bernard Chaucer‟s contemporary doctor. 

     John of Gatesden, Guilbertus (or) Gilbertine. He is moderate in eating. His diet is nutritious and easy to digest. He little-studied Bible. He is dressed in Blood Red and dark blue with silk lining. He saved all the money that he made in the Pestilence (plague). As gold is good for the heart, so he is a special love of gold. 

Wife of Bath - Fashionable city in London 

     There was a good woman from near bath city. It was a pity that she was deaf. Her practice of cloth-making surpassed the cloth makers of Ypres and Gaunt. In the parish, no women would surpass her in making an offering at mass. If anyone did, she was angry that she forgot all her Christian Love (or) charity. Her Kerchiefs were nicely embroidered that they weighed 10 pounds especially that she wears on her head on Sundays. Her hose is of the finest scarlet colour. Her face is bold and fair and red in colour. She is a worthy woman all her life. At the Church door, she had 5 husbands, apart from other many companions in her youth. At present, there is no need to mention them. She had been thrice to Jerusalem. She had crossed many strange rivers. She had been to Rome, Boulogne, St. James of Galicia in Spain and Cologue (Spain). By travelling, she learnt much. She had Gap toothed widely. She sat on a trained horse easily. Her hat is as broad as a shield or Buckler. Her flowing mantle covered her large hips. In company, she liked to laugh and chat. She knew love charms (Mediuues) because she played the Game of love since long. 

Parson (Man of Religion) 

      There was a good man of religion. He was a poor parson of a town. But he was rich in holy thought and work. He was a learned man and a clerk (scholar) who preached christ‟s gospel. He would sincerely teach. He was king. He was patience in adversity (Sorrows). He disliked the evil method of charging lithes and fees. He would give the poor people from his goods and Easter offerings. He had little. His parish was wide, but he never neglected the people in Rain or thunder or sickness or Grief. He went on Foot with the staff in hand. He said such a noble example to people that he was the first to act and then to teach. he got the idea out of the Gospel. He would add the little proverb he „If Gold gets rusted what will. The iron do? - If the priest does evil, the common man will also be infected. It is a shame too with the bad shepherd and a clean Flock. A priest should say an example by his clean life. He did not sell his blessing or run to St. Pauls Cathedral in London to earn easy bread by singing Masses for the souls of wealthy dead men or to get enrolled as a brother. But he stayed at home and watched his parishioners (Church people). So that no wolf would carry his sheep (people) He was a true shepherd. He scolded the sinful men. He was wise in teaching. His task was to show the path to heaven. If any man was stubborn, he would scold him. There was never a better priest anywhere. He taught the doctrine anywhere. He taught the doctrine of Christ and 12 apostles. But he first followed it himself. 

Plowman (Farmer) 

      The parson‟s brother was a Plowman. He had carried many carts of cow dung. He was a good worker. He loved God in adversity or prosperity. He loved his neighbour as himself. He would dig the ditches for every poor man without payment for Christ sake. He paid his Tithes (Tax) fully. He is paid dressed in Frock. He rode on a mare (Female Horse). 


      The Miller was a bulky fellow. He was stout in muscles and bones. Wherever, he went, he carried the Ram, the price at a wrestling match. He was shot should and broad-chested. He broke the doors with his head. His beard was the hair a sow (or) a fox and it was broad as a spade. He had a wart on the tip of his nose. Wart was covered by red hair like the bristles in an old sow‟s ear. His nostrils were black and wide. He carried a sword and small round shield. His mouth was wide as a great Furnace (Forney). He was a fighter and Buffoon. He talked about sin and lust (Harlotry). He stole corn and paid fine thrice. He had a thumb of Gold. He wore a white coat and blue hood. He could play on a bag Pipe. 

Manciple – Trador 

     There was good-natured Manciple of the Inner temple. His buyers learnt the art of buying from him. Either in cash or credit, he was watchful in Bargain. He had more than 30 masters, well versed in Law, of whom a dozen men work in Inner Temple (place nome). He lived frugiky. He was helped by the Lawyers in legal cases. He could fool everyone. 

Reeve (Farm Bailiff) 

     The Reeve was the farm bailiff. He was a slender (lean) and irritable man. His beard was closely shaven. His hair was closely closely cropped and cut shot round his ears. In front, he looked like a priest. His legs were long and lean like a staff (stick), and he had no calf. No accountant could beat him. He had a good count of harvest yield, sheep, cattle, Dairy, swine, horses and poultry. He worked with his lord for 20 years. No one could catch him in arrears. The farm servants were afraid of him as death. His house stood, on heath and it was good to shaded with green trees. He purchased better than his lord. He could please his Lord cleverly. So he could give his goods. He was a good work man. He was a carpenter. His good horse was could scot. This farm bailiff came from Norfolk, near a town Baldeswell. His gown was tucked under his belt like a Friae. 


    Summoner had a firing red face like a cherub, as it was covered with red pimples. His eyes were narrow. He was hot a wanton as a sparrow. He had black brows and a thin beard. Children were afraid to look at his face. No medicine, Mercury, Lead, Ointment, Tartar, Borex could cure the pimples on his cheeks. He loved Garlic, Onions and Leeks. He loved strong red wine, red as blood. He spoke and shouted like mad man Intoxication, he spoke only Latin. He knew only 2 or 3 Latin terms. No one could test his knowledge. He would say, First Question what it is the Law? (Question Quid Juris). He was a gentle fellow. For a Quarte wine, he would lend his mistress to a friend for 12 months. If he found a man with a woman, he would teach him not to be afraid of the curse of the Arch Deacon. He would collect money as fine from his purse. He was a liar. He threatened young people by knowing their private wishes. He wore a garland on his head as large as a bush. 


    There was a gentle Pardoner of Rouncivale who was his friend. He came straightly from the court of Rome. He sang „Come hither, love to me! He repeated the refrain. His voice was louder than the trumpets. His hair was yellow as wax. It hung in a small portion. His shoulders were spread with hair. He rode stylishly. He had starring eyes like a hare. On his cap, there was the image of St. Veronica. In his Wallet (purse), there were pardons from Rome. He had the goat-like small voice. He had no beard. His cheeks were smooth. He was known from Berwick to Ware. In his bag, he had a pillow case with virgin Mary‟s veil. He had a fragment of the sail of the ship where St. Peter met Jesus Christ. He had a copper and Zinc cross. He would earn more money than a parson would earn in 2 months by showing them. He was a flatterer but he was a noble priest. He could read a passage or tell a story. He could polish his tongue to win silver. Therefore he sang merrily and loudly. 

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